posted on 7/2006 By:
What’s on tap: Filthy, bludgeoning, sludgy doom metal.
Friends that know me well know I have a serious soft spot in the ol’ ticker for doom metal. Over the past three decades, this particular genre has seen more and more worldwide interest, leading to sizeable advancements and a number of wicked subgenre branch-offs; funeral, death, drone, stoner, sludge, and black. Despite all the hoopla, this particular gloomy genus still seems to primarily thrive deep within the underground, with most metalheads only occasionally putting their ear to the ground for the more heavily hyped bands. But as those of us who truly hold this deplorable genre close to our hearts know, deep within the winding roots of metals’ crust there are loads of excellent doom bands just waiting to ruin our day, and you can certainly add Zoroaster to the ever-growing list. Formed three years ago from the wreckage of Terminal Doom Explosion, this Atlanta based threesome deliver brain hemorrhagingly heavy, abusive, sludgy doom metal. Somehow one bass, one guitar and a drummer have figured how to produce an elephantine sound so immense and oppressive, you’ll have no choice but to absolutely crank this bitch each time you spin it for utter bulldozing enjoyment.
8-minute opening cut, “Mons Venus”, lumbers out of the dark like a nettled, starved cave bear after hibernation - stomping, stalking, obliterating and devouring everything in its path. The wall of noise created by Brent Anderson’s bass and Will Fiore’s guitar is heavy as fuck, filthy, and definitely throws homage towards Winter, Grief and early Sleep (minus the sweetleaf) for quick, easy comparison. The vocals are deep, burly and set snugly within the mix as a perfect enhancement to the songs’ walloping nature. The song also showcases the fantastic, looming drum work spanning the entire recording. The multitude of rolls and fills found throughout this gem immediately brings to mind Armando Acosta’s early work with St. Vitus. Track two, “Bullwhip”, takes the listener down a slightly faster path, both in time (4-minutes) and pace, and features vocals more rasped as opposed to grumble-growled, nudging the bands’ sound closer to later Unearthly Trance or Lair of The Minotaur material. “Honey and Salt”, the records’ sole instrumental cut, punts the listener repeatedly in the face with seven minutes of unremitting riffage before eventually spilling into the record’s apex, the eleven-minute anaconda, “Defile”. This ponderous tune brings to mind the unbelievably heavy shroud once draped by the mighty Warhorse, but thankfully excludes said bands’ encumbering LSD laden noodling in favor of pure, unfettered, doomed abuse. The record closes with a short (2-minute), faster paced, untitled bonus track that captures the band in a rollicking, bass-heavy live setting.
Fans of any of the above mentioned bands should be stripped of their doom metal stripes if they miss this bludgeoning barge. At five songs and 32minutes, Zoroaster’s self-titled mini-album is a mother-fucking bargain at $8 (with shipping and handling) from Battlekommand Records, and has definitely piqued my interest as far as what the band might have in store for their first full-length. If this recording is any indication of what's in store for fans of doom, this could be one hell of a wonderfully miserable ride.
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